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Nehra still 80%, rest are fit, says Dhoni

cricket Updated: Feb 27, 2011 01:13 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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Unlike the last few days, there were no expectant faces around the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. Tickets for Sunday's India-England match were all gone and the fans probably knew it was not worth the trip to the stadium, and risk getting beaten up by the police instead.

Inside the stadium, it was a story of last-minute attempts to get things into place. The organisers were running around and the event managers were seen making sure that everything was perfect. And of course, there were the teams too. England in the morning and India in the afternoon, the players toiled under the sun ahead of the big day on Sunday.

All are fine
Fitness issues first, and India have had a fair bit of concern over this in the last few days. They turned up at full strength a day before the game and had a rigorous training session.

The effort they put in was hard to overlook, and everybody took part in everything that the team did. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, however, mentioned Nehra was still not as good as he had expected him to be.

"You can say Nehra is 80 per cent. Apart from him, all are fine and we have 15 fit players to choose from for tomorrow's match. People are saying that we have the momentum going with us after the first win, but we think we have to start from scratch."

Pressure tactics
Andrew Strauss was hoping that the pressure factor would work against the home team, who had mauled them in the ODI series here in 2008. "In some ways there is more pressure on India than on us in this game. If we can play good, smart cricket and put them under pressure, hopefully pressure will come to the fore," he said.

That may not necessarily be the case because the Indians know what it takes to deliver the goods in front of home fans.

They have enough experience of playing before packed stands and doing well. The pressure, in that sense, should be on England and after a tougher than expected outing against the Netherlands, they know that a few holes need to be plugged, especially when they play India.

"This is going to be a huge occasion and it will be a great atmosphere. It is one of those games that everyone dreams of playing, I mean playing against India in the World Cup on their home soil. It is a great opportunity for us," he said.

Excitement and expectations, the city of gardens has endured a decent dose of both over the last few days. Weather gods permitting, the climax to the days of waiting will come on Sunday.